Suppliers for separators used in Li-ion batteries have kept expanding production capacity as the market for Li-ion batteries is enjoying a boom. One such leading supplier in China is Senior Material. The company has recently made a significant stride with respect to the development of its manufacturing projects.
As reported by the Yangcheng Evening News, Senior Material held a groundbreaking ceremony for its “South China New Energy Base” on March 26 in Foshan, China’s Guangdong Province. This project is expected to entail a fixed asset investment of around RMB 10 billion.
The South China base covers a total land area of 800 mu (about 133 acres). The aim of the project is to create a state-of-the-art production hub for battery separators. After the base reaches full production, it is expected to output 3.2 billion square meters of wet separators, 1.6 billion square meters of dry separators, and 3.4 billion square meters of coated separators annually.
Earlier on February 2 of this year, Senior Material disclosed that it plans to build a major manufacturing base in Foshan with a total fix asset investment of RMB 10 billion. Furthermore, a wholly-owned subsidiary will be formed to carry out this project, which will be built over two phases.
Senior Material stated at the time that investing in this project will further expand the company’s production capacity for dry and wet separators as well as high-performance coated separators. This, in turn, will enable the company to better meet the demand for its midrange and high-end products. All in all, the project will enhance the company’s overall competitiveness.
Senior Material is one of the major Chinese suppliers for Li-ion battery separators. Its customers are the major Chinese and foreign suppliers for Li-ion batteries. Examples include CATL, BYD, EVE, CALB, Gotion Hi-Tech, Northvolt, LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and Freyr.
It is worth mentioning that in addition to the South China base, Senior Material is also setting up another manufacturing project in Nantong, China’s Jiangsu Province. The development of the project is moving forward according to the company’s plan. Once it is operational, the Nantong project will add 2 billion square meters per year of production capacity for wet separators and coated separators.
Also, Senior Material is establishing its presence in Europe. In January 2021, it formed a European subsidiary and released a plan to invest a maximum of RMB 2 billion in building a plant in Sweden. This plant will produce wet separators and coated separators. Then, in September 2022, Senior Material made an additional investment of up to RMB 872 million in its European subsidiary for increasing the production capacity of the plant in Sweden (i.e., the phase 2 of this project). The additional investment was purposed for land, equipment, and facility building. According the company’s capacity expansion strategy, its production capacity for separators is targeted to reach 10 billion square meters per year by 2026.
At a meeting with investors on February 3, Senior Material stated that its projects in Nantong and Sweden are advancing as planned, so it will be able to activate a considerable amount of new production capacity this year. Setup has been completed for some production lines in Sweden, and several newly-built production lines for coated separators already entered operation in the second half of 2022. As for the second half of 2023, the new production capacity for base film will also be activated. The focus of the project in Nantong right now is to activate the new production lines for wet separators during the first half of this year.
In 2021, Senior Material’s production capacity for separators came to 1.215 billion square meters per year, and its annual separator sales came to 1.22 billion square meters. Its capacity utilization rates for the production of dry and wet separators reached 70.71% and 102.73% respectively. At the end of June 2022, the company’s production capacity was around 1.7 billion square meters, of which wet and dry separators accounted for around 1.1 billion square meters and 600 million square meters respectively.
This article is a translation of a Chinese article posted by TrendForce. It contains information that is either sourced from other news outlets or accessible in the public domain. Some Chinese names are transcribed into English using Hanyu Pinyin.